Ontario Base Maps: 10 17 6750
48700, 6750 48650, 6750 45600, 6800 48650
National Topographic Series Maps: 30M/15
UTM Reference: 10 17 678000 4867000
Latitude: 33 56 ' Longitude: 78
Aerial Photographs: 1:12.000, 1994-23-04,
Roll 94014, Line & No. 6:120-127, Line & No. 5: %-102; 1;10,000,MNR 1997, Roll 38,
Line & No. 6789-6792
Municipality, Lots & Concessions: Regional Municipality
of Durham, Municipality of Clarington: Conc. 3, Lots 17-30; Conc. 4, Lots 17-29; Conc. 5,
Lots 21, 23, 24, 26
Ownership: 100% private
Conservation Authority: Central Lake Ontario (CLOCA)
Wetland Status: provincially significant
Number of Wetlands and Area: 37 wetlands, 585.3 ha
Wetland Type: Swamp 91%. Marsh 99%
Wetland Site Type: Palustrine 91.7%, Riverine 8.2%, Isolated
Wetland Score: Biological Component 175, Social Component
156, Hydrological Component 241, Special Features 250, Total 822
Dates Investigated: 1997: July 7; Oct. 15, 24, 28; Nov. 4,
26; Sept. 3, 5, 11;, 1998: Sept. 3, 15; 1999: Aug. 5, 16, 18, 24, 25
Person Hours: 284 hours
Investigators: MNR: Steve Varga,
Mike McMurtry, Tim Rance, Demetra Kandalepas, Elizabeth Zajc, Karen Mewa, Heather Murdie,
Ramana Ihambipillai, Christine Jacobson and Lesley Tebby; CLOCA:
Kathy Heib, Dale Leadbeater and Brian Henshaw (Henshaw, 1998)
The provincially significant Black-Farewell Wetland Complex
is located in the Municipality of Clarington and is bounded by Trulls Rd., Green Rd., Nash
Rd. and Conlin Rd.
The Black-Farewell Wetland Complex updates and re-examines
the wetland complex evaluated by MNR in 1987. It incorporates a number of wetlands that
were not looked at in the 1987 evaluation. This inventory is part of an ongoing effort to
update and re-examine wetlands in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), The fieldwork was done
in partnership with the Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority.
The wetlands are grouped into one complex because they are
all situated on the Farewell Creek watershed and individual wetlands are located within
750 metres of the nearest adjacent wetland. The wetlands are also linked by stream
corridors, adjacent forested uplands or by agricultural lands.
Six wetlands under one hectare were included in the complex.
One wetland is part of a larger wetland, now separated by a narrow strip of agricultural
land. The other five wetlands were included because they support communities not well
represented elsewhere in the wetland complex, have significant species or serve as
amphibian breeding ponds.
In addition, small upland pockets have been included in the
wetland complex. These areas are too indistinct to separate from the surrounding wetlands.
The Black-Farewell Wetland Complex receives a score of 175
for its biological component.
Black-Farewell has 37 wetlands covering a total of 585.3
hectares. These wetlands occur along Farewell Creek and its major tributary Black Creek.
Most of the wetlands have mineral substrates of sands and, less frequently, loams and
clays that are poorly drained with the water table within five metres of the surface
(Gartner Lee Ltd. 1978).
The sandy soils of Black-Farewell were laid down along the
shores of glacial Lake Iroquois, a much larger version of Lake Ontario. The Regional
Municipality of Durham has the most extensive example of Lake Iroquois shoreline in the
GTA. The shoreline's poorly drained soils are evident as an extensive east-west band of
forests and wetlands across the breadth of southern Durham.
The Black-Farewell wetlands sustain a high diversity of 42
wetland types. Most common are swamps covering 91% of the wetland complex. There are
mixed/conifer swamps dominated by White Cedar (41.2%) and deciduous swamps of Trembling
Aspen, Balsam Poplar, Green Ash, Silver Maple, Yellow Birch, White Elm and Black Ash
(40.9%). Scattered thicket swamps dominated by various willow species and Redosier Dogwood
cover 9.4% of the wetland complex. Covering the remaining 8.8% of the wetland complex are
marshes of cattails (Typha sp.) and Reed Canary Grass (Phalaris arundinacea) and,
occasionally, Wool-rush (Scirpus cyperinus), Water-parsnip (Sium sauve), Canada Bluejoint
(Calamagrostis canadensis), Cutgrass (Leersia oryzoides), Lake Sedge (Carex lacustris) and
Variegated Horsetail (Equisetum variegatum). Several open ponds are dominated by Leafy
Pondweed (Potamogeton foliosus) and Common Duckweed (Lemna minor).
Black-Farewell is noteworthy for its diversity of
surrounding upland forests and plantations, which cover 144 ha. The most common woodland
types are Sugar Maple deciduous forests and Hemlock Sugar Maple mixed forests. There are
also occasional forest stands of Red Maple, Sugar Maple-Beech, White Cedar and White
Cedar-Hemlock. Some of these upland forests, such as those in and around Wetlands 1 and 8
are noteworthy for their maturity, with a number of trees over 100 years in age. There are
also younger successional forests of Trembling Aspen and White Birch in deciduous stands
or mixed with White Cedar. Conifer plantations are restricted to several small pockets.
The diversity of wetlands and associated uplands at
Black-Farewell explains its high diversity of plants and animals. The inventory found 63
breeding bird species, 10 reptile and amphibian species and 402 vascular plant species.
Adjacent uplands are important for many wetland species at
Black-Farewell, and they are critical for the maintenance of its wetland functions.
Waterfowl such as Mallards nest in fields around the wetlands. The abundant population of
woodland frogs such as Spring Peeper, Wood Frog and Gray Treefrog rely on the
spring-flooded thicket swamps and marshes for breeding, but forage and hibernate in the
surrounding upland forests and plantations. Other frogs at Black-Farewell such as the
Leopard Frog forage in fields a considerable distance from the wetlands. They also move
between wetlands, hibernating in the bottom of deeper permanent ponds, and breeding in
more shallow wetlands. The Snapping Turtles and Painted Turtles at Black-Farewell live
year-round in permanent wetlands, but lay their eggs in the surrounding uplands.
Black-Farewell's diversity of breeding forest bird species
is due to its large tracts of treed swamps and associated upland forests. These include
such forest birds as: Sharp-shinned Hawk, Broad-winged Hawk, Black-and-White Warbler,
Pileated Woodpecker, Veery, Ovenbird, Scarlet Tanager, Northern Waterthrush,
White-throated Sparrow, White-breasted Nuthatch and Red-breasted Nuthatch.
The Black-Farewell Wetland Complex receives a score of 156
for its social component. The wetlands receive high to moderate scores for economically
valuable products and recreational activities such as fishing. Its nearness to urban
centres is also noteworthy.
The Black-Farewell Wetland Complex receives a score of 241
for its hydrological component.
The extensive Black-Farewell wetlands are hydrologically
very important in regards to flood attenuation, maintaining water quality, groundwater
discharge and recharge, and as a long-term nutrient trap. These hydrological functions are
critical to the downstream ecological health of Farewell Creek, surrounding urban areas
and at Farewell's mouth, Second Marsh, an outstanding lakeshore wetland (Henshaw &
The wetlands at Black-Farewell are highly significant
discharge zones providing clear cold water to Farewell Creek and its major tributary Black
Creek. It is these wetlands and the surrounding uplands that are responsible for this
stretch of Farewell Creek supporting coldwater fisheries in contrast to the warmwater
fisheries upstream and downstream of the wetlands (Gartner Lee Ltd 1978). The wetlands
also serve as recharge areas into the aquifers along the Lake Iroquois shoreline.
The Black-Farewell Wetland Complex receives the maximum
score of 250 for its special features.
Extensive wetlands such as Black-Farewell are uncommon on
the Lake Iroquois Plain (site district 6-13). The poorly drained soils along the Iroquois
Shoreline and the lakeshore marshes support most of the wetlands in this site district.
Black-Farewell is noteworthy for supporting the largest wetland complex and the largest
swamps on the Iroquois Plain in the GTA.
The Black-Farewell wetlands are outstanding for their
significant species, one of the largest concentrations on the Lake Iroquois Plain (Table
1). Its extensive swamps and associated upland forests support two significant forest bird
species that require large forested habitats: the locally rare Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher and
the provincially rare Red-shouldered Hawk. Twenty-four locally rare plant species occur in
a variety of wetlands.
Black-Farewell is important for wildlife. Its 241 hectares
of mixed/conifer swamps are locally significant for wintering deer. Its spring-flooded
wetlands provide a spring stopover for migrating waterfowl such as the Wood Duck. This
waterfowl species and the Mallard also breed at Black-Farewell, in addition to other
wetland birds such as: Common Snipe, Green-backed Heron, Northern Waterthrush, Swamp
Sparrow, Alder Flycatcher and Willow Flycatcher. Black-Farewell also supports a Great Blue
Heron rookery, one of only about a dozen such breeding colonies in the GTA.
Black-Farewell sustains locally significant fish habitat.
The tributaries in and around the Black-Farewell wetlands have Brook Trout and Mottled
Sculpin populations, which are indicators of good coldwater habitat. Other fish species
present include Rainbow Trout, Common White Sucker, Bluegill Sunfish, Brown Trout,
Pumpkinseed, Brown Bullhead, and Rock Bass. Many minnow species also occur in the creeks
such as: Creek Chub, Blacknose Dace, Longnose Dace, Common Shiner, Bluntnose Minnow,
Rainbow Darter, Johnny Darter, Northern Redbelly Dace, Fathead Minnow, Fantail Darter,
Spottail Shiner and Finescale Dace.
Table 1. Significant species
Provincially Significant Breeding Bird
Source: Brian Henshaw 1998 field observations
1. Red-shouldered Hawk
Locally Rare Plant Species (Rare in the
Regional Municipality of Durham)
Source: S.Varga field observations and collections 1997-99;
Dale Leadbeater field observations and collections 1995, 97. 98 (Leadbeater 1998 field
notes, Gartner Lee Ltd. 1998): Status: based on VYg;L S. et al.. 1999.
1. Yellow Sedge (Carex flava)
2. Ground-pine (Lycopodium obscurum)
3. Beaked Sedge (Carex utriculata)
4. Moonseed (Menispermum canadense)
5. New York Fern (Thelypteris noveboracensis)
6. Golden Saxifrage (Chrysosplenium americanum)
7. Marsh Purslane (Ludwigia palustris)
8. Wire-Stemmed Muhly (Muhlenbergia frondosa)
9. Northern Manna Grass (Glyceria borealis)
10. Floating Manna Grass (Glyceria septentrionalis)
11. Richardson's Rush (Juncus alpinoarticulatus)
12. Black Maple (Acer nigrum)
13. Water-celery (Vallisneria americana)
14. White Water Crowfoot (Ranunculus longirostris)
15. Foxglove Beard-Tongue (Penstemon digitalis)
16. Eastern Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)
17. Closed Gentian (Gentiana andrewsii)
18. Rough Sedge (Carex scabrata)
19. Greenish Sedge (Carex viridula)
20. Red-Sheathed Bulrush (Scirpus rubrotinctus)
21. Columbian Watermeal(Wolffia columbiana)
22. Climbing Poison-ivy (Rhus radicans s. radicans)
23. River-bank Wild-rye (Elymus riparius)
24. Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
Locally Rare Breeding Birds (Rare in the
Regional Municipality of Durham)
Source: Brian Henshaw 1998 field observation; Status: based
on Bain & Henshaw. 1994.
25. Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea)
The Black-Farewell Wetland Complex is provincially
significant with a total score of 822 points. A wetland that scores 600 or more points or
has 200 or more points in either the biological or special features component is
Black-Farewell sustains the largest wetland complex and the
largest swamps on the Iroquois Plain in the GTA. Black-Farewell is noteworthy for its
large number of significant plants and animals, its heron rookery and its coldwater
fisheries with resident populations of Brook Trout.
Major wetland functions and features to be maintained at
Black-Farewell include, its high diversity of wetlands; its important discharge and
recharge functions; its outstanding diversity of species and community types; its
coldwater fisheries, its good quality association of wetlands and uplands and its wildlife
To ensure that Black-Farewell's important discharge and
recharge functions are maintained, it is important to maintain water quality, quantity and
duration to the wetlands and to safeguard the groundwater. Alterations to water regimes,
even minor ones, could have dramatic impacts on wetland communities and their resident
There is a need to bring water regimes in Black-Farewell
back to their historical levels. Roadside and agricultural ditches and the occasional
ditches through the wetlands have all had the effect of drying out Black-Farewell and
reducing the critical extent and duration of spring flooding. A long-term water budget
should be considered for the Black-Farewell wetlands. The phasing out of at least some
ditches could be an important step in improving its water regime.
The high diversity of wetland species at Black-Farewell is
the result of its extensive and diverse wetlands that are well connected to each other and
to adjacent upland habitats. To maintain species diversity, the interconnected network of
wetlands and uplands must be maintained.
Critical associated uplands for Black-Farewell wetland
species ate its surrounding woodlands. The woodland frogs at Black-Farewell are dependent
on these forests for hibernation and foraging. As well as using spring-flooded wetlands in
the complex for breeding, the woodland frogs also breed in some of the ponds in the
surrounding abandoned gravel pits. It is critical that travel corridors be maintained for
woodland fogs between their forests and breeding ponds.
The high diversity of forest bird species at Black-Farewell
also necessitates maintaining its treed swamps and upland forests. Many of these forest
birds require large blocks of woodlands for their survival and experience declines
following urban development (Friesen et al. 1995).
The largest marshes at Black-Farewell abut agricultural
lands Wetlands 8 and 18). Critical uplands for these wetlands would include the adjacent
pastures and croplands. These habitats would be utilized by wetland species such as
nesting waterfowl, which can nest several hundred metres from a wetland, and amphibians
such as the Leopard Frog, which forage in uplands around their wetlands. These activities
were all observed at Black-Farewell.
It is critical that seasonally flooded ponds and permanent
ponds in the abandoned gravel pits around Black-Farewell be retained. These wet areas
support breeding woodland frogs, resident turtles, Leopard Frogs and Green Frogs and
unusual Variegated Horsetail communities
Wildlife corridors in and around the Black-Farewell Wetland
Complex need to be maintained and strengthened. Studies have shown the importance of
wildlife corridors in maintaining diversity and resiliency in an ecosystem (Riley and Mohr
1994). In addition to the travel corridors between breeding ponds and forests there are
also larger wildlife corridors at Black-Farewell that occur along the tributaries of
Farewell Creek and in a major east-west band.
Encouragement should be given to increasing forest cover in
the drainage basin of Black-Farewell particularly around wetlands and larger woodland
blocks and along wildlife corridors. Black-Farewell is situated in the midst of a major
east-west green corridor along the Iroquois Shoreline. This corridor stretches for 70 kms
in the GTA across the breadth of southern Durham from the Rouge River to the Ganaraska
River. Connections along this corridor could be strengthened by, for example, reforesting
the gaps between wetlands and forested areas.
East-west connections within Black-Farewell could also be
strengthened through reforestation along its tributaries. This would include the riverine
connections between Wetlands 22 and 23, Wetlands 19 and 31 and Wetlands 1, 2 and 3.
Reforesting the agricultural pockets in the midst of the two largest wetlands in the
complex (Wetlands 8 and 18) would greatly add to the amount of forest interior habitat.
Connections could also be improved to the north of
Black-Farewell. Reforesting the upstream tributaries of Farewell would link it to the Oak
Ridges Moraine (MNR 1999). Improved connections to the south would better link
Black-Farewell to Lake Ontario and the provincially significant Second Marsh, a premier
Bain, M. and B. Henshaw. 1994. Durham Region Natural History
Report 1993. The Pickering Naturalists
Gartner Lee Ltd. 1978. Environmental Sensitivity Mapping
Project for the Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority.
Gartner Lee Ltd. 1998. Birchdale Village Environmental
Impact Study -Phase 2 Final Report
Friesen, L.E., P.F.J. Eagles and R.J. Mackay. 1995. Effects
of Residential Development on Forest-dwelling Neotropical Migrant Songbirds. Conservation
Henshaw, B. 1998. ELC Community Description Field Notes for
Farewell Creek September 5 and 11. 19998
Henshaw, B. and D. Leadbeater. 1999.in prep. Farewell Creek
Natural Heritage Assessment and Identification of Restoration Priorities. Friends of
Second Marsh and the Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority
Leadbeater. D. 1998. Field notes for Trulls Road Woods,
September 3 and 5, 1998
MNR. 1987. Wetland Evaluation of the Black -Farewell Wetland
Complex. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Unpublished report on file at OMNR Aurora
MNR, Aurora District July 1999. A Natural Heritage System
for the Oak Ridges Moraine Greater Toronto Area Portion. Ontario Ministry of Natural
Resources, Aurora District
Riley, J.L. and P. Mohr. 1994. The Natural Heritage of
Southern Ontario's Settled Landscapes, A Review of Conservation and Restoration Ecology
for Land-use and Landscape Planning. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Southern
Varga. S., D. Leadbeater, J., Webber, J, Raiser B. Grins, D.
Banville, E. Ashley, L Tebby, C. Jacobson, and K. Mewa 1999, draft. The Vascular Plant
Flora of the Greater Toronto Area Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Aurora District.
[See Wetland Map page for the MNR August 1999 Courtice area map
showing these wetlands, and the Map Links page for links to other maps of woodlots, sensitive
areas, water table, etc.[See
Wetland Map page for the MNR August 1999 Courtice area map
showing these wetlands, and the see also
[Home] [Site Map] [Who We Are] [Black-Farewell] [Black Creek 2001] [Local Wetlands] [What is a Wetland] [Our Watershed] [Map Links] [Current Events] [Studies] [MOEE Tips] [Photo Gallery] [Lake Iroquois] [Responsibility] [Govt. Contacts] [Enviro Links] [Message Forum]